As of 12:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, approximately 400 of the 1,400 homes affected by UGI’s natural gas outage are still waiting to be fixed.
They’ve been in the cold since the outage struck early Thursday morning.
It is currently 32 degrees and snowing in Milford. UGI expects to complete restoring access to all affected homes today.
“Our goal is to get everyone restored today,” added UGI representative Joseph Swope. “I’m optimistic.”
The only homes or businesses that may not get restored today are those whose owners are unreachable to grant access to UGI personnel, he explained.
The ‘priority’ list
Yesterday, all of the affected homes needed to have their gas lines turned off before UGI could reintroduce gas. UGI completed shutting down all of the affected homes around 6 p.m. Thursday evening. Gas was then able to be reintroduced, and 80 UGI employees began knocking on doors to restore access and relight appliances shortly after.
Murmurings on social media began last night as residents questioned why certain homes or businesses regained access first while others did not.
“There was initially a priority list,” explained Swope. “And that priority list was based on information that we receive from the Emergency Management Agency.”
Also on that list were customers who called UGI and expressed that they were in especially high-risk situations, with medical issues or special needs that could be “a life threatening situation,” explained Swope. Critical infrastructure, such as medical facilities and nursing homes, were also prioritized.
Afterwards, the 80 UGI personnel were given batches of addresses to restore. They’d complete their batch, report the information back to UGI’s control center, and then would get a new set of addresses to restore service to.
“I can’t say for certain that the way those orders are generated is that you just go down house-by-house,” said Swope. If UGI personnel were spotted on your street restoring access, but then left and didn’t complete the street, they may have come to the end of their batch and been given a new batch that was not sequential to the one they had just completed, he explained.
Over 80 UGI employees, brought in from all over Pennsylvania, are working boots-on-the-ground to restore access to the homes affected by its natural gas outage.
After working throughout the day on Thursday to first shut off all of the affected gas lines, UGI continued knocking on doors to restore access until 2:30 a.m. Friday morning.
“It got to a point where a lot of them had been working since seven o’clock the previous morning and really had to get some rest,” said Swope. “And the other issue we ran into last night was one of access: businesses were closed, people were sleeping, people had gone somewhere else for the night.”
A station that feeds natural gas into Milford experienced “some sort of equipment issue” at that station, said Swope.
Repairs were made to that station during the day on Thursday -- another factor that needed to be completed, in addition to shutting down all affected customers’ gas lines, before gas could be reintroduced to the system.
The Pike County Courier is working to get additional information about the specific mechanical failure that caused UGI’s outage.
The office of Emergency Management did not immediately reply to The Pike County Courier’s request for comment regarding prioritized homes. This story will be updated as we get more information.
Warming centers available
The following warming centers are still available and open Friday:
• Matamoras Fire Department: 506 Avenue Q, Matamoras;
• Sunshine Station: 476 US-6, Milford Township;
• Milford Bible Church: 110 Foxcroft Avenue, Dingman Township;
• Tom Quick Inn: 411 Broad St, Milford Borough.
Getting your gas line turned back on
UGI personnel need to enter each home and businesses to restore access to natural gas and relight appliances.
Someone needs to be at the property to grant access. All UGI personnel will have photo ID badges, featuring the UGI logo, the employee’s photo, and other identifying information. Homeowners are encouraged to ask for proper identification before granting access.
UGI asks homeowners to “secure pets and, if possible, make sure your meter and appliances are easily accessible.”
If UGI can’t get into the home, a notice will be left on your door with instructions on how to contact UGI to get access restored.